Innovation: New Biodegradable And Eco-Friendly Almond Shell Based Masterbatches For Traditional Sectors

Last update: 23.08.2013
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Keywords: 
waste use‚ plastic‚ raw material consumption‚ alternative material‚ agricultural waste‚
Until the 1950s most children’s toys were made from wood or metal. The introduction of plastics that were cheaper, more colourful, robust and easy-to-mould revolutionised the industry and greatly increased both the number of products available and sales figures. Today, plastic toys account for some 90% of the market.

Use of plastic in furniture industry is quite common since 1946, when Douglas Simpson and James Donahue created the first plastic chair, although not much extended. Wood Plastic Composites can participate around 5% of the market share. Nevertheless, some trends are being noticed towards using plastics in the furniture industry. Compared with wood, compounds polymers with almond shell have a superior outdoor durability, require lower maintenance costs, and absorb less water and present greater hardness and resistance. This makes them optimal for its application in outdoor furniture or urban furniture, for example.

Approximately 80-90% of the plastic parts produced by injection-moulding contain colourants or other additives - either for aesthetic reasons or to improve their use. The most common way of colouring and changing the properties of such plastics is by using concentrates – called masterbatches – that are added to the polymer matrix in the form of pellets or granules. A masterbatch consists of a polymeric matrix in which a high proportion (50-80%) of pigments, colourants, dispersing waxes and other additives and fillers are included. The masterbatch is added to the polymer in which it is to be incorporated during the transformation process - injection moulding, extrusion - at an average rate of 3% by weight in a simple and economical method.

However, there are still no masterbatches on the market using biodegradable plastics. A new process that introduced biodegradable polymers to traditional sectors such as the toy or furniture industries would stand out in the market, especially in comparison with imported products from countries such as China.

PROJECT GOALS:

Natural masterbatches on biodegradable matrices are notably absent in the plastic injection market. Thus, this project has been conceived for the development of new colour concentrates based on biodegradable polymers with almond shell targeted to the toy and auxiliary furniture sectors and able to be transferred to other industrial sectors of plastic injection.
The aim of the MASTALMOND project is to create and test at pre-industrial level new masterbatches - colour concentrates - based on biodegradable plastics and using a formula containing a high percentage of almond shell, a natural waste material. It ultimately hopes to reduce the negative environmental impact from plastics. The project will focus initially on the technical requirements of two traditional industrial sectors, toys and auxiliary furniture. However, the hope is that results achieved will be extended to other industrial sectors, helping to increase sustainability.

The project will create new eco-friendly masterbatches in the form of pellets using biodegradable thermoplastic filled with natural waste. The new material will be based on the lignocellulose component of milled almond shell. The project will optimise use of new masterbatches of different colour concentrates based on biodegradable polymers with different proportions and particle sizes of almond shell at laboratory scale by AIJU. Beyond the laboratory, it will adjust or modify conventional extrusion systems to allow application at full-scale industrial level. These will be manufactured and distributed by the IQAP MASTERBATCH GROUP SL.

The project will establish demonstrators to make toy and furniture products from the new materials. The demonstrators will be designed and manufactured by INJUSA (toy manufacturer) and PEREZ CERDA PLASTICS (furniture auxiliary) and the conclusions made available on a European level for use by the plastic manufacturing sector in general.
Expected results:
The project aims to demonstrate reduced impact from plastics on the environment through:
1. New processes for achieving masterbatches using milled almond shell in high concentrations to use within biodegradable polymers;
2. Re-use of natural waste/renewable resource (520 tonnes/yr in Europe);
3. Integration of organic and inorganic pigments;
4. Demonstrations of toy and furniture manufacturing capabilities incorporating biodegradable polymers though injection moulding;
5. Optimization of the processes to meet established technical specifications;
6. Market uptake of new eco-friendly masterbatches boosting synergies on the use of biodegradable polymers (expected 193 K tonnes in the short term & 580 K tonnes in the long one; and
7. A new market for an agricultural waste product (EU-27 has 12’88% of the global share).
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Pérez Cerdá En La Feria Midest 2012
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This innovation is the result of the project

Title: New Biodegradable And Eco-Friendly Almond Shell Based Masterbatches For Traditional Sectors

Acronym: 
MASTALMOND

Runtime: 
01.10.2012 to 30.09.2015

Status: 
on-going project

Organisations and people involved in this eco-innovation.

Please click on an entry to view all contact details.

AIJU

Field: Scientific research and development (Spain)

Role in project: Project Coordination

Contact person: Ms. MARTÍNEZ Asunción

Website: http://www.aiju.info

Phone: +34-965554475

Contact

INDUSTRIAL JUGUETERA, S.A.

Field: Manufacturing and Production (Spain)

Role in project: Associated partner

Contact person: Ms. BERBEGAL PATRICIA

Website: http://www.injusa.com/

Phone: +34-965553356

Contact

IQAP MASTERBATCH GROUP, S.L.

Field: Manufacturing and Production (Spain)

Role in project: Associated partner

Contact person: Mr. MOLTÓ Ricardo

Website: http://www.iqapgroup.com/

Phone: +34-965554949

Contact

PEREZ CERDÁ PLASTICS, S.A.

Field: Manufacturing and Production (Spain)

Role in project: Associated partner

Contact person: Mr. SEPULVEDA JORGE

Website: http://www.perezcerda.com/

Phone: +34-966560543

Contact